Wings by Aprilynne Pike is the kind of book you pick up for its pretty cover and end up engulfed in its magic.
Laurel is a slightly odd teenage girl. She’s adopted and was home-schooled until her parents decided she needed to attend a real high school in her sophomore year. She’s a vegan by necessity (she can’t eat anything but fruits and veggies)–and, kudos, she’s not a snot about it! Yay for portraying vegans as normal people who just want to eat differently rather than someone preachy. (I’m not a vegan and never will be because I need cheese to live, but I have nothing against it so long as no one sneers when I eat a plate of nachos.) She’s also pale and never gets cold. But hey, what teenager isn’t a little different?
She quickly makes friends in school, including the charming science-loving sarcastic boy David, and things seem okay. Until a bump on her back starts growing. She convinces herself it’s cancer and she’s dying but instead, she sprouts a giant flower that looks like wings. Surprise! She’s a faerie. Over on her parents’ old land, she meets Tamani, a handsome and alluring faerie her own age who’s been in charge of guarding both her and the land for years. He’s been in a panic since Laurel’s family moved and he “lost her,” and is relieved to see her. She doesn’t know who he is but, she’s very aware that he’s a man. HE SMOULDERS ON THE PAGE.
I need to point out right now that I’m a Tamani fan girl, completely. I don’t often swoon over boys in books, but Tamani got me. He’s a super hot confident faerie boy and he manages to be the bad boy while obeying the rules. It’s weird. And awesome.
You can forgive that it’s blurbed by Stephenie Meyer because it’s so clear Wings is everything she wanted to Twilight to be but couldn’t manage. It’s a whimsical, modern day faerie tale (literally) about a high school girl who finds herself surrounded by enchantment. Furthermore, I’m seriously invested in Laurel’s love triangle. David is the sweet, funny, smart guy and Tamani is the enthralling mysterious one. And while Tamani has, by plot necessity, has done some Edward-esque stalking, he feels bad about watching her in secret and is relieved she knows the truth so he can just be with her in the open. (And he never snuck into her room to watch her sleep.) Likewise, David makes his feelings clear but isn’t forceful. He’s happy to be her friend if that’s what she wants, and Laurel doesn’t string him along in false hope.
There is also plot besides “which guy will she choose?”. There’s “what is the science behind faeries?” (Seriously. David and his microscope investigate Laurel’s “condition” WITH SCIENCE. And it makes sense. Biology and magic, for the win!) Also, Laurel was given to her parents to inherit their land that holds a Gate to Faerie, and she needs to prevent them from selling it to a very strange and cruel man. It’s a wholly unique take on old faerie lore with, as Pike herself put it, “magic and kissing.”
Recommended if: You like paranormal romance with actual tension, a little bit of mystery, and some action. And kissing.